Despite many observers - myself included - feeling that Erik Karlsson's play suggested he should be sent to the AHL (or SEL in Sweden) for the remainder of the year, Senators GM Bryan Murray has stated otherwise:
"Whether he's here for every game or whatever this year, I don't know that, but 10 games won't be the trigger point," said Murray today. "10 games is not going to be the measure of Erik Karlsson."
It seems pretty clear that the Ottawa Senators coaches and management have enough confidence in the kid that they are willing to burn off a year of his entry level contract. (For those unaware, once an 18 or 19 year old rookie plays 10 games, the first year of the contract is activated. If he plays less than 10 games and is sent down, he does not lose a year on his contract).
Considering the importance of having those entry level contracts in a salary cap NHL, and since the team already has 6 other defensemen who have played in the NHL, it's kind of baffling. Not to mention that Brian Lee is waiting in the wings as an extra defender if needed, and he has the requisite NHL experience.
Here are the numbers on Karlsson so far:
|2009 - Erik Karlsson||5||0||1||1||-4||6||0||0||0||0||11||0.0|
As I said in my earlier post on Karlsson, the kid is going to be a special player soon, but I can't help but feel that the Ottawa Senators are really rushing his development. Obviously Karlsson is showing some pretty spectacular skill at practice, because he has not earned a full season in the NHL based on his five games to this point.